As I entered my home after running errands that afternoon in May, I can still see my daughter’s brown suede boots sticking up from behind the side of the couch. I peered over and looked at her exhausted body lying limply across the cushions, her backpack on the floor beside her.
Her expression was intense as she slept, her brows furrowed in a sort of desperate greed as she stole a few moments of sleep. I grabbed a throw blanket and gently placed it over her in hopes that she would stay asleep for a bit longer.
This month to be honest had been grueling. My over-achiever of a daughter was on the last stretch of her high school experience, racing for the graduation finish line. She had taken a very strenuous load of advanced placement classes and was hoping to graduate Summa Cum Laude (fancy word for four-year 4.0).
Her goal… college scholarships! Late nights studying, early morning meetings with her teachers and extracurricular activities galore- she was spent! The results of this crazy schedule ultimately proved rewarding. She did achieve her ambitious goals and graduated with highest honors, being awarded several scholarships after months of what seemed like a part-time job completing applications. Her success was partly due to the experience we gained from the first go-around with my son.
I wish I had been better informed with my oldest but I was grateful I knew my way around a bit better by the time my daughter entered the graduation season. I understand that not all of our children are going to be applying for scholarships or taking advanced level classes, but I do have some advice for those who are hoping to be awarded scholarship assistance for over-priced college educations, and I have basic advice for ALL graduates, no matter their post-graduate goals.
Tips To Plan For And Navigate Through The Graduation Season:
Prepare for graduation by making sure your child has an assigned school counselor they meet with on a regular basis for all four years. Communicating with a school counselor is the best way to stay in the loop regarding scholarship opportunities, university presentations and testing (ACT and SAT) information. More importantly, a counselor can advocate for your child on many levels and provide moral support during a time of life that can be challenging and stressful.
Encourage your child to volunteer in the community or within school clubs and organizations. Volunteer work during high school will be one of the key requirements scholarship committees look for and more importantly, volunteering gives your child an opportunity to look outside of themselves and invest in others. Giving helps bring fulfillment and purpose to a high school experience.
If your child is applying for scholarships, get a list of ALL scholarships and encourage them to power through, applying for all that they are eligible for. Students think if they apply for a few scholarships they might be awarded one or two, but in reality, they can apply for 10 and get one, so it is important to have them apply for as many as possible.
Additionally, regarding scholarships- edit their essays and applications! Scholarship committees expect well written essays with correct punctuation and grammar as well as applications free of errors. Help your kids with writing ideas if they need them, inspire them to write creatively and make it personal. Good essays are crucial in the application process! Encourage your high schooler to get plenty of sleep. It isn’t easy to “tell” an 18 year old when to go to bed because they basically consider themselves adults, but graduation season is an exhausting time, so enough sleep will be essential.
Enjoy the graduation season! Whether they are planning on going on to college or not, very soon your son or daughter will be moving on and this final season at home will one day be fondly missed.
By Kimberly Bridwell, Kudoso Kontributor